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ROYAL WEDDING DAY

29 Apr

With 58 million  hits in 0.07 seconds when you google ROYAL WEDDING – who is going to read yet another blog about this today??!

Nobody. I get that.

So, I am not going to share one tiny bit more on the Wedding other than saying – it’s a BIG day…. I love Kate’s style…and I am certainly not missing it!

This post is to say that I am sharing in this big event – from very, very far…..and I do hope that they will turn out to be a “happy ever after” couple to take away some of the sadness surrounding everything about lady Diana and the people watching Kate to fold under pressure.

I bought these items yesterday for tonight’s party – in the spirit of the wedding….

…..and in honor of our fabulous hostess who is hosting a ROYAL WEDDING PARTY for us all to watch together.

What better excuse for expats in far away places to have a party and turn into Royalists ! Sorry that I can’t share any photos of our RW-party with you on my blog…. but I don’t own the rights to cover the event and publish the photos of all my friends who will be wearing their blue, red and white !!  😉

Are you going to watch?? Tell me – where or with who??

And if you read this only after the event – what did you think of it all?? The dress???  Anything else??  Share, share, share !

Have a lovely weekend everyone – if not in London….in front of your TV !!

Off to go make my cucumber sandwiches for tonight !

Ilze

Be kind to yourself

21 Apr

Part 1:

Yesterday I got a text from a dear friend.

“Be kind to yourself. You have a lot on your plate. x”

That thought lingered on…

Part 2 of the story:

I love stationery and I recently bought this little note-book I just loved.

I had no purpose for it until yesterday.

So, the happy ending to part 1 & part 2 of this story, is the following:

I plan to write little notes to myself of the many ways in which I can and have been kind to myself on a given day.

I do know that I should be more kind as I can be extremely tough on myself….but I tend to forget.

So I will write down when I did myself a favour by going to bed early….by taking my vitamins…by being happy with myself that I actually used the leftovers from last night for tonight’s dinner instead of chucking them in the bin after a week in the fridge – I am not such a bad housewife after all. I should pat myself on the back !

Starting today !

We need reminders…. we need friends….and we need to be kind to ourselves.

Ilze

Love defines beauty

15 Apr

“A woman feels beautiful to the degree that she feels loved.”

(or you can pay five US dollars at Bobby Chin’s restaurant in Vietnam and they will tell you that you are throughout the entire evening!)

Back to my point…

I hope you feel really beautiful today !

You are.

Ilze.

When details don’t matter

12 Apr

On Sunday we returned from Morocco. What a wonderful time we had !

On Sunday we also celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.

For a person obsessed with details in arranging everything, I am still astounded to this day about how little I cared about the details of my wedding day.

I was so busy with my career at the time that I squeezed in the details for this big day in the few moments I had to spare in-between deadlines and client demands.

Which is why I printed the church leaflet after midnight in a backstreet alley of a martial arts guru’s studio where lots of things went on that I pretended to not notice…. but it was already 2 nights before the wedding and no print shop could help me at that late stage anymore….

….which is why I only showed up at my parents’ house the day before the wedding after my dad threatened to come get me if I don’t pack up my work and come home to be on time for the ceremony…

….which is why I left the designer to choose the design and the fabric for my dress and only fitted it once…yes, the dress wasn’t even white – only because she decided ivory would go nicely with my hair color –

….which is why I had nothing to wear on my head/ over my face which had upset a lot of my aunts attending the wedding

….which is why my mom went to a connection she had to open up his shop the night before the big day and dye the only pair of  shoes we could find the day before to be in an ivory colour to match my dress

…which is why I had nothing to decorate my hair with which left the hairdresser no choice but to pull a piece of flowers from my bouquet to put in my hair

…which is why my sister-in-law went home while they were already doing my hair and I then realized that I had no earrings to wear..and she found an old pair of hers !

Yes, the list goes on – those were not even small details that were left unattended to. Those were the big things..

And yet – I had a lovely wedding. Despite my significant lack of planning!

Which just brings me to the point….that apart from having beautiful photos to remember the day, weddings are one of those where despite popular belief, it is not ALL about the details. Had it depend on how perfect that day was or was not…. my marriage would have certainly had to fall apart by now…. and many having had a perfect day with attention to every little detail, may have ended already their journey together. There is nothing wrong with either of these options (meaning very little planning or over the top planning for several years) …and I am totally for planning your day to the finest degree of detail ! But I am relieved to report that the wedding day is not all about the detail….

In this case the difference is not in the detail….

The difference is in choosing the right person to marry.

Eighteen years on, having a box full of memories with photos of the most divine details from a picture perfect day would have helped nothing had we lost the love since that day.

Not that I am trying to justify my sluggish approach to my big day..which still astounds me AFTER writing this post….only that I am relieved to have discovered that it did not matter in the end…so, to all you beautiful brides-to-be out there….

Yes, I am all for making your wedding day the most beautiful day …but today’s post has just one message for those still planning…let this event’s details not be only about that day…this is one of the few times when the event is not the end in itself, but it is only the beginning…..of a life of details – not of your own, but of how you and your partner can manage to integrate your life’s details with one another …

Feeling blessed to have the best husband ever that brought me this beautiful bouquet today, I am fully aware of the difference he has made in sharing my life with him….


ps – and for those of you too tied up in your careers right now…it’s not worth it !! Take a break – plan your big day… your marriage might last forever..your first job – definitely not !!

And in honor of beautiful weddings… I promise to share a post or two on that topic… ! Keep checking in…
We don’t celebrate our anniversary in a big way, but our anniversary day was the same as my in-laws and the day after my parent’s wedding day…just many, many  years after.
That was always very special about this date we chose for our wedding.
Both sides have now lost a spouse and only the memories remain…
Last year was my parents’ final anniversary before my mom passed away only months later…. They celebrated 50 years of marriage on their last anniversary…
It was also her last day at home before she had to leave home forever into a place of care because of her Alzheimer’s.
We celebrated it with them in a very plain, simple way…..simply by being together and sharing a last meal together with them.
It was a happy day and it was a sad day. One year ago. And a day I will never forget.
But what grace they had to be together for so long .
So, for us – a long way to go still – whatever lies ahead…..for better or worse, in sickness and health !

Morocco

2 Apr

Ever since Holly from decor8 did this lovely post about her travels to Morocco for a Creative Workshop she taught there, I have been drooling on the idea of going there….

Yes – this was my comment on her post back in October 2010.

…which just shows you that I wanted to go…even long before then!!

And today – it is MY turn !! Unexpectedly and by none of my own doing I get to spend the next week in this destination that has captured my mind many years ago when I bought a Moroccan lamp that I still love and have. Can’t wait to see and share more of the design and ideas that will inspire me there.

I am off with hubby for 10 days of lovely relaxation in Marrakesh. As I am sitting in Istanbul, waiting for the plane to board to Casa Blanca…I can marvel again on this post with all the lovely images that awaits us there.

I will miss my happy campers who can not join Mom & Dad this time. Especially since one kept on walking off with things she felt appropriate to take along – while I was trying to pack!!

Glad I caught her walking off with the bag and flip-flops that were meant to go in the suitcase?!

Holly shared many hints and ideas about her trip there and therefore, those of you who already asked me for feedback upon my return, don’t need to wait that long.

You can see a few posts on Holly’s blog and start planning and dreaming..and drooling…right away ! There are great tips on where to stay and what to do and great pictures to set you in motion !

I’m off to have a lovely time. I hope you do too in the coming week….

With Love

Ilze

I am not my body…

31 Mar

Last week was one of those weeks where I lived in frustration again with my own body.

Complaining to myself that I have nothing to wear, following my “unexplained” weight gain….obsessing over minor aches and pains I had….feeling nauseous from medicines I took …. and the list goes on.

Just in general not a happy camper…very frustrated with my body and how not-perfect it was….

That off course made my whole life seem miserable and nothing was good enough anymore.

That was until I met Stephanie Nielsen.

I did not meet her in person…but I was reading a book review on someone’s blog and noted a small icon on the right sidebar…I clicked and it landed me on her blog,  NieNie Dialogues.

I watched the video on her blog …and then I cried.

I cried for her burns. I cried for her courage. I cried for her children.

And then I spent the rest of the evening reading through her blog and archives to even before her accident.

I felt ashamed about my complaints – having a perfectly healthy body and pretending like I have it so bad…

But, more importantly I felt so inspired by her. She has no choice now but to live in her new body, but she started blogging 3 years before her accident…and then she did have a choice to make – to be happy or unhappy. And everything I read points to the fact that she lived life in full and in gratitude before this happened. Her zest for life and her love for her husband was just simply incredible.

I watched the clip and what struck me most was ” I am not my body”. I want to never forget that again.

My mind has been with Stephanie so much this past week…and I want you to meet her too. So, I share her story here today and hope that you too can learn from her. You can watch more videos on her blog, especially the one with her four children and their Blue Lily photo shoot. It is just divine.

 

Take care

Ilze

Reflections on Raising “Adults”

29 Mar

We all try our best raising our kids…right??

We try different means and methods… and hope for the best!!

Who knows what will or will not achieve the results we were hoping for….only time tells…

Last  week my kids went off on their own for the first time, flying without mom and dad to another country ! For a playdate/ fun birthday surprise !

Yes – they were bursting with excitement to get to spend a week with friends without their parents.

They were indeed not without “parents”…as our friends took them in under their wings for the week…oh boy…did they know what they signed up for?

Well – it was their idea and they arranged everything. How lucky were these kids??

While they were gone, I had time to sort out a few things and was digging deep into some archives to search for something when I found these papers from a couple of years ago…

It made me smile.

It was not kids’art. It was their interpretation of my “parental input” by lack of a better word.

They date back about 4 years, when me and the two of them sat together and talked about relationships amongst other things – in one of my attempts to not raise KIDS, but to raise ADULTS…as me and my husband keep on reminding ourselves through the years.

This chat most certainly was on good relationships on the playground at school, making friends etc. as I recall one of them having issues with this at the time.

There are “pointers” ..sort of suggestions for them…but then there are the “rules” – the non negotiable things ….

Yes – I do this to my kids…you can laugh or applaud now….

And then I ask  them to feed back to me in their own way how they understood/ interpreted what I was trying to say.

 

This is probably the reason why I kept these papers all these years !!! To reflect back one day on how they applied their minds to this…

Or wait, maybe it was to have proof that I did in fact tried, if it turns out that my efforts were to no avail…

I don’t write it out anymore and they draw it out either… this was when they were 6 and 8 – just to remind you !!!

I even tried to help the teacher, by listing the things he could do in class to be a good student – when I got a little note from her one day….

And then there was the “how to put this in ACTION…”

Yes – obviously I threw in a few “these things  you gotta do at home if you wanna keep Mommy sane” ????!!!

…and yes, why would I NOT sneak in a …”keep the house neat and tidy?????”…. I am a bit of a neat freak??? (can I say that that one did not make quite the impression I was hoping for??). I constantly find towels on the floor, messes everywhere and even a little report back from my friend that my son left his clothes on the floor at their house. Oops. And..Sorry, friend ! I did get many other positive reports from her to make up for that one !

Well, we are a religious family, so bringing up kids in such an environment also included a few pointers on how to make a special time for God  and where He fits into all of this in our daily lives or where we fall short on our own…or as parents.

Those just a few notes from one of my efforts to help these kids gain perspective on life in the way me and my husband see it..so that they can one day apply what we taught them…. decide for themselves and hopefully keep the good and throw out the bad and go beyond the mistakes we made….

This week I could not help but wonder – how many of these things that we have gone through over the years have made enough impact to fully equip them for the world out there? Surely they interact a lot with others on a daily basis and on playdates..and I don’t keep that close an eye on my kids to control their actions and responses. But they are starting to go off on their own in little bits and pieces and it is more and more up to them what choices they make on a daily basis.

This is where we as parents have to trust, that they will be reminded of what they were taught – from our best intention and efforts. And there will be parts that needs some shaping up still in the years to come…. And their will be some parts of their personality and behaviour that will develop beyond what I taught them…in a good OR a bad way.

But, I trust in my heart that they were good company…remembering many  of the things they have learned…and most of all – I am happy that they did something right in the first instance on shaping their friendship and relationships up to this point – something well enough to get invited to someone’s house for a week !

I am thankful for friends who took them in..and I am thankful for my kids and the years we have had together up till now to talk about all these things and I am looking forward to another couple of years, in helping them become their own in this world to engage in meaningful, pleasant and lasting friendships !!

I feel blessed to have been able to be a parent and try my hand at this. What a priviledge.

Do you feel the same way about raising kids?

Or if you don’t have kids yet and plan to have some –  are you looking forward to raising them? Or is this a huge mountain ahead for you?

Well – a little advice from me then…

I believe that there are only 2 things you need to give your kids – ROOTS and WINGS !

I have tried to give them some roots..to keep them well grounded by explaining the mechanics, the rules, our set of principles.

I am working on their wings…. but is with great anticipation that I see them flapping them already, starting to  take off on short flights …and eventually  have the sky as their limit.

I love them dearly. It is an exciting and extreme privilege to raise kids… I mean…raise adults for this world we live in.

Do you have any wisdom to share with me? Please do.

If you have complaints about my kids – sorry, my inbox is full.

If you have lovely things to say about them..you can leave a million comments on this blog !

Ilze

P.S – No copyright on my book above on “parenting”… feel free to use on your kids ! It comes no charge and no copyright.Not often you get something for free, right? :-))

Oscar night

3 Mar

Did you watch the Oscars? I have to admit – I did not. I just got the scoop from one of the lovely blogs that I follow. If you want to see a quick re-cap on it all,  go see the blog of  Slim Paley. She did a great job as always !

I have one particular recollection of an Oscar night where I stayed up to watch….but was pregnant with my second child and my husband was overseas at the time…and ALL I can recall of that whole evening…was that for the entire duration of the show I was on the floor in the bathroom….with my 18 month old son…bringing me a toss pillow, patting me on the back and saying everything will be okay !!! (yes – I had ALL day sickness during the first four months of my pregnancy). To be honest, that was one of the moments I felt so cared for…to be comforted by a tiny, little guy so grown-up and so caring taking over his dad’s role at the time!

But, I did once in my life receive my own “Oscar”. Working as a Chartered Accountant I took on a huge project after a 3 yrs leave of absence from work. And I mean HUGE. It was a first of its kind for our country and we had to come up with many “plans” of how to tackle the whole lot and in the end achieved great success. So I received the “CAN DO” award from the top guy in our firm ! No red carpets though….but yes, more than enough spotlight was on me on the exact same evening I told the hairdresser to go wild and give me a crazy hair-do for the evening… I just want to look “funky”…thinking I was just going to have a great party at the firm’s year-end function with no idea it was my one and only time I was going to get a personal photo with our CEO??!!

In honor of Oscar night, I opened the cupboard yesterday to look at my Oscar….

OOPS !!…

Too many moves as an expat took its toll. When you quit your job and become a trailing spouse.. you don’t have a fancy office anymore to showcase all these things !

And I could not help but wonder… is that what had become of my “CAN DO” attitude??! I very often now feel the ” I can’t do” this and instead a “MUST DO ” kind of burden…as a stay home mom !

Anyone out there feeling the same?!

Okay – maybe I am the only one out there feeling that I don’t have my “can-do” as much as I was known back then for it !

But hey – at least I will always have my  other “Oscars” – 3 beautiful children for whom I WANT to do many things !

Share with me some of your rewards that you have in life  – or what your “Oscar” looks like?!

Have a great day everyone !

ps – need to see more on the Oscars?! Especially the “behind the scenes and the after-parties?”…then buckle up and go here. Popsugar covers it all!

Life-lemons and lemonade-lessons

17 Feb

One year ago, a life so perfect started to take a few bumps and beatings. A lot of loss,hurt, panic, sadness, anxiety , anger and stress made its way into the Queen’s castle!

And when my mom passed away in November, I took only a few items from her house. The most precious one of them all…this little sign….

It is such a cliche, right?!  But, what is the recipe for making the lemonade in real life?

Today, I am sharing my recipe for coping with all of this. I have to admit that I am not yet at the stage of adding the sugar and chilling it…but I am slowly making my way there..

Sharing makes me hope that you will find some wisdom in this recipe for yourself or identify with how I do it or you will be able to help me by adding a few ingredients that has worked for you and might do the same for me…

So, to reflect on what I do with my lemons…….

1. PROCESS / REACT to what is happening…do not be in denial….allow it to absorb your mind….clutter your thoughts…talk about it…cry about it….yell about it….but acknowledge that it is happening…so you can deal with reality that the lemon has hit you…..be BUSY with it…do not ignore it. You can freak out if you have to… for a little bit… I tend not to…but I have other ways in which my system responds… I start talking about it..to everyone and anyone…untill my husband falls asleep on it…untill such time I feel that I have talked so much about it, that I don’t want to talk about it..only then I stop talking…

2. THEN…  STOP for a while and forget about the rest of your life….sometimes when the juice squirts in your eyes you have no choice but to take a moment and gather yourself together…do not feel guilty that you have missed out and dropped the ball in a few other areas while you were busy dealing with the crisis…let it be the most important thing in your life for a day or three…. I am sure the school forgave me for not signing up to come see the teachers for parent conference day and I am not going to feel like the worst mother ever… I just went back, said sorry and will see them tomorrow….I simply can not have my mind everywhere it needed to be….

3. Think about things that came as a result of this….ponder some thoughts on side -effects this created (not neccessarily good things that came out of it – because that is very hard to see in a time when there is really no good thing in it for you…??! ), but for eg. be reminded of how wonderful your support network is, who your true friends are, who you can trust in situations like this, how making you stop made you realize some things that has nothing to do with this…. for example…when a bad thing happened to my nanny, I got to do a few things with my little one that I have not done in a while and I really enjoyed dressing her and giving her breakfast whilst I dont always get to do that anymore because there is someone helping her with that….I am still not happy that this happened but it made me think again of other things that came as the ripple effect…..

4. Do NOT  ask WHY this has happened. This is counter productive and makes you go back and forth as if on a swing… you do not get anywhere because we as humans are simply not equipped to anwer that question. For death, illnesses and tragedies we do not know and will not know. It is exhausting to do that.

5. Return to your Source of inner strength and calm…. the place or Person that can help you pull through a tough time….. If you are a believer, let go and let GOD. If not, find your source of comfort and go there for inner strength. Sometimes it is too difficult to pray during your own suffering. Ask others to do that for you…or just be still and He will know about it anyway…ask for Peace and you will receive it. You might not get the answer or a solution, but you will find peace in accepting your circumstance. And if you are not strong enough to pray, be quiet and put on some beautiful music…and don’t panic. Your stamina will return.

6. Get back to basics in taking care of yourself….eat well, go to bed early, drink a lot of water, get some exercise…….getting overtired and stuffing yourself with junk makes you feel even more miserable and does not help the situation at all… I am very guilty there…. I tend to stay up and do comfort-eating, give up on exercising and soon enough I have even more things to be depressed about !

7. Get dressed and dolly yourself up a bit ! Take a good look at yourself. Again – GUILTY. I find something sloppy to wear and hang around the house. It feels like everything, including me is  a mess ….. Do not get me wrong…. I LOVE hanging out around the house without being all dressed up – I can stay the whole day in pj’s …but, what I am saying is that in a time of crisis, it is not the right time to do that…do that when you are on top of the world, feel like you can achieve anything and in control of your life and emotions…otherwise…. get up and get dressed…so you can face your sad face in the mirror !!

8. Find a creative outlet...yes, like blogging…or baking…or whatever it is that you love to do and that gives you energy….In times of crisis, we often don’t allow ourselves to do the things we love because we are absorbed in the thick of things…but force yourself to spend just a little time on your hobby or something that gives you joy..something that will inspire you from within yourself….that will take your mind off things even just for a moment….that will force you to make an attempt to light the fire that life just blew out…so you will feel that you still have the ability to give even though it feels as if all has been taken from you….

9. Think about a list of ten things that you still have that you can be thankful for…and you will surely come up with a list ten times ten. Yes, even in death..there is some thankfulness… a life that was good…a suffering that has ended…. in terminal illness, there is still….the fact that are you are still alive with time to make right…extra time with loved ones….even in sadness….there are other things that bring you joy…. having a devastating diagnosis and a young child to care for is a heartbreaking situation but having the young child that you are thankful for, helps you to focus and hope for a solution, to push through and to look forward….to not get stuck in one place…

10. And then – go DO something – go DO something with your lemons….be pro-active, come up with plans to make things better, take action and move on from your place of sadness and insecurity and sickness….if you have nothing else to do……go make some real lemonade !! For the recipe – see the bottom of this post.

If it is cold and you don’t feel like a refreshing glass of lemonade..how about some lemon tea.

In Korea, you get this lemon preserve. I love it.

You spoon it into your cup…and just add hot water… It is delicious and heart-warming and is a good alternative for hot chocolate or coffee…..

So, here again – my recipe of making lemonade from life-lemons:

1. React and let it ALL out when it happens

2. Stop and take stock

3. Look beyond the border of the burden

4. Dont ask WHY

5. Pray for Peace

6. Back to Basics

7. Face the mirror

8. Create and Conquer

9. Fill your thankful tank

10. Go DO something productive

So……I bought the lemons, got my juicer out, making the lemonade….and found out that my honey spoon is missing…:-(

But, in the process of looking for it, I found this glass in the cupboard….

It must have been a little Corona marketing stunt..but it came in handy and so I share with you what it says:

“Enjoy with Lemon  – Corona represents the ultimate reprieve from and the rejection of the pressures of life. It’s an invitation to kick back and not take life too seriously.”


So it need not be lemonade. There are other things to do with the lemons you got in your life. Everyone’s situation is different and everyone responds differently. The important thing is to make something with YOUR lemons.

But for those of you who really read this blog for inspiration on design and decor, I did after all find something to share with you when I went to get the lemons. It is the fruit bowl that I bought on my recent trip to South Africa.

It is from the South African designer Carrol Boyes. She has AMAZING things !!!!! and I am a true admirer of her work.

 

It consists of two bowls, a small and medium, size which you can easily pass around the table if you want to hand out the fruit. It is not neccessarily for fruit but anything you can think of, of course !

If you do go to South Africa, be sure to look for her work. Just ask around and anyone will direct you to an outlet in selected malls. You can find it in selected international stores and now also online. She constantly comes out with new designs and they are a feast for the eye ! Remember – Carrol Boyes.

If you go to the site, there is also a competition going at the moment for new designers. So, if you happen to be one or aspire to be one  – go see the METAL MESS AROUND competition at her site. There are great prizes to win and a promising career for the lucky winner!

Right now…. I so wish that I could blog more about design, decor and detail as this was the intention of my blog….but reality is that life has thrown us these lemons …and they have been coming at a bit of a steady pace over the last few months….

So, here is to you, Sam…for inspiring me to write a blog post despite dealing with little one’s diarrhea, dialysis and other dilemmas in life right now !

If you have a few ingredients for lemonade, do not be shy to share them in the comment section below!

If you want to know how my lemonade is tasting so far…go follow me on Twitter (idodetail or click on the blog’s sidebar), as I will be posting my progress on steps 1-10 in the coming days.

And if all else fail – go grab the Tequila and Salt… I have no further advice for you !!

Take care

Ilze

Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

My son is cute. And cool. And 12.

And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. So he made this for someone special for tomorrow..

…from a piece of wire he found in his room tonight…

He is into detail as much as his mom is !!!

But he is way more creative and innovative than me.

Did I say that he’s cute. And cool. And 12.

I would have bought the flower… I admit.

So, to all of you out there – all I have to share on this Valentine’s Day

…A flower that won’t fade…..homemade, handmade.. and hopefully by tomorrow…happy-heart-made…!

 

 

Let me know if you got something that made your heart happy today – even if it was not for Valentine’s Day !!

With Love

Ilze

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